construction workers install glass case on Berlin Wall signature segment
Berlin Wall “Signature Segment” Case Installed
Berlin Wall “Signature Segment” Case Installed 1024 683

Over a two week period in early August, the “Signature Segment” of the Berlin Wall located in the Diplomacy Center’s Pavilion was enclosed in a custom-designed glass case. This important project, completed in the run-up to the 30th anniversary of fall of the Berlin Wall, will ensure that this unique piece of the wall will be preserved and protected for visitors to enjoy for many years. 

The case features specialized museum-quality glass with exceptional clarity and anti-glare properties, which allows visitors an unobstructed view of the wall’s unique artwork and the collection of 27 signatures by leaders who played a role in the Berlin Wall’s downfall. The wall segment itself is inset into the floor and the case design includes glass panels surrounding the segment which allow visitors to see every part of the segment — including the six foot long concrete “foot” which extends from one side, parallel to the floor. Glass manufacturers based in Germany and Spain provided the custom panels needed to complete the project.  

In October, the new case will be joined by a permanent exhibition on the history of the Berlin Wall and the “Signature Segment” that will be installed adjacent to the wall on the lower level of the Pavilion. This exhibit is designed in conjunction with Smithsonian Exhibits.

Secretary Pompeo Commemorates anniversary of September 11, 2001
Secretary Pompeo Commemorates anniversary of September 11, 2001 1024 683

Pompeo lays a wreath down by the flagIt’s been 18 years since the September 11 attacks left nearly 3,000 people dead in the worst act of terrorism the nation has ever experienced. Marking the 18th anniversary, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo visited the U.S. Diplomacy Center’s September 11 exhibit to remember those we lost on that tragic day, but to also highlight America’s resolve and the global outpouring of support for the United States following the attacks. After laying a wreath to honor the victims, Secretary Pompeo spoke about the Department of State’s unique role in working with our partners noting “September 11th also showed how many friends the U.S. has around the world.” 

The Diplomacy Center’s exhibit showcases America’s resolve including a brick retrieved from Osama Bin Laden’s compound, on loan from the CIA Museum. Secretary Pompeo, who is also the former Director of the CIA, remarked, “May we honor the victims through the defense of our homeland.”   After the attacks, U.S. embassies and consulates received condolence material such as personal mementos, letters, and drawings. Many of these items were shipped to the Department of State in Washington, and now are included in the collections of the Diplomacy Center. This condolence material represents an unwavering support for Americans in their time of need and a global repudiation of terrorism.

Specific examples from the collection include:

  • Students at Norwood School, Johannesburg, South Africa, sent a spiral bound booklet of colorful drawings and encouraging notes to the U.S. consulate.
  • Firefighters from the New South Wales Rural Fire Service offered a helmet with heartfelt inscriptions to the U.S. consulate in Sydney, Australia.
  • Schoolchildren in Japan created extensive chains of origami swans as symbols of peace.

House Resolution 786 (For the duration of the ceremony), signed in the wake of the Sept 11, 2012 attack on the US compound in Benghazi, Libya to honor the fallen and condemn the attackers.

Signed Copy of House Resolution 786

To honor the fallen and condemn the attackers, the U.S. House of Representatives passed House Resolution 786.

Brick on a stand

Brick retrieved from Osama Bin Laden’s compound, on loan from the CIA Museum.

White empty new storage facility with racks
New collection storage facility completed
New collection storage facility completed 1024 768

The Diplomacy Center’s collection has a new home following completion of a custom designed 2,00  square foot museum storage space. This new space represents a significant upgrade in storage capacity, access, and preservation capabilities for the Center’s unique 8,500+ item collection —  and the only museum collection in the nation focused on preserving our diplomatic history.

Outfitted with specialized museum storage shelves and cabinets, the space provides roughly double the storage capacity that was available in the Center’s former facility. A fifty foot long compact storage system is a central component, which helps save floor space by placing shelves and cabinets on mobile carriages with aisles that can be opened or closed at the touch of a button.

The space also features independent climate control system, providing a stable temperature and relative humidity 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. A stable climate helps ensure the best possible conditions for long-term preservation of the priceless history the Center is entrusted with caring for and sharing with the public. 

The project to deliver this space unfolded over an approximately two year period and involved coordination between the State Department’s administration bureau, construction crews, diplomatic security, and the Center’s collections manager.

With the space completed, the Center’s curatorial staff is now moving the collection from its temporary location into its new home. The specialized features and increased capacity of this space will enable the Diplomacy Center to preserve, grow, and share its unique collection with the public — now and in the future. 

Hilary Brandt, Deputy Director for Management
Hilary Brandt, Deputy Director for Management 150 150

Portrait of Hilary Brandt in State Department

Hilary Brandt is the Deputy Director for Management at the United States Diplomacy Center. She oversees the Center’s budget, contracting, strategic planning, technology, and communications. Prior to joining the Diplomacy Center, Hilary was Director of the Office of Policy, Outreach, and Governance in the former Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP) at the U.S. Department of State, where she oversaw major change-management projects in workforce skill-building, workspace modernization, and strategic planning and governance for a bureau of 300 people. Hilary also solidified the important relationships for the department with Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Slack.

Hilary joined the U.S. Department of State seventeen years ago. Prior to running the IIP Policy Office, she was the Director of Digital Communications in the department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). Hilary is recognized for establishing ECA’s online alumni network, pioneering ECA’s social media outreach, and managing an extensive project to redesign ECA’s websites, resulting in a Webby honorable mention and making the sites among the first in government to adopt responsive design.

Before joining the State Department, Hilary worked for several years managing international exchange programs throughout eastern Europe. Hilary has a BA in Slavic languages and literatures from Indiana University, an MA in political science from The George Washington University, and a certificate in intermediate Ukrainian from Harvard University. Hilary is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).


Chronicle of Freedom
Chronicle of Freedom 150 150

Original image of old newspaperThis original August 3, 1789 issue of The Independent Gazetteer or the Chronicle of Freedom provides notice of and complete text of the July 27, 1789 act establishing the Department of Foreign Affairs. This legislation enacted what is the core law for the Department of State today. The original Department of Foreign Affairs (with the name changed to Department of State the same year) originally had a staff of 5 people under the first Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson, who had just finished serving as United States minister to France. The original State Department was located in a building on Broadway in New York, before being moved to Philadelphia in 1790 and later to Washington DC. When President Washington appointed the first 17 US consular officers, the officials were Americans who happened to be engaged in trade in particular cities with no salaries provided by the government. The Gazetteer was published in Philadelphia from 1782-1790.

Diplomacy Center Hosts a Teacher Resource Fair During the Global Teaching Dialogue
Diplomacy Center Hosts a Teacher Resource Fair During the Global Teaching Dialogue 150 150

The Diplomacy Center hosted a teacher resource fair for participants in the Department of State’s annual Global Teaching Dialogue. Educators from around the world gathered to share experiences and collaborate on best practices in K-12 education.

Held on June 28, 2019, the fourth annual Global Teaching Dialogue welcomed educators and global education experts for a day-long event to share best practices in education strategies. Participants heard from U.S. Department of State officials and conducted workshops on integrating global standards in K-12 curriculum.

Associate Curator and Lavender Scare speaker sit on stage
Diplomacy Center and glifaa Honor Pride Month with “The Lavender Scare” Screening
Diplomacy Center and glifaa Honor Pride Month with “The Lavender Scare” Screening 1024 683

In honor of Pride Month in June, the Diplomacy Center partnered with glifaa (LGBT+ pride in foreign affairs agencies) to host a screening of the recently released documentary “The Lavender Scare” followed by a panel discussion and reception.

The film highlights the mass firings of gay and lesbian federal workers who were considered to be security risks because of their sexual orientation. Starting in the 1950s and continuing through the early 1990s, the risks were particularly acute at the Department of State, which gives the screening of this film added significance. 

Diplomacy Center Public Affairs Officer Reva Gupta provided opening remarks, sharing the importance of such public programming in telling the diverse story and challenges of diplomats. glifaa President Liz Lee noted in her remarks that it was significant, considering this not-too-distant history, that this documentary was screened at the Department of State. 

In a panel following the film, Diplomacy Center Associate Curator Katie Speckart, Liz Lee, and glifaa co-founder Jan Krc spoke about the creation of glifaa and how the era of the Lavender Scare will be presented in the Diplomacy Center museum. Mr. Krc also spoke about his personal saga of being fired from the Foreign Service in 1984 due to his homosexuality and his nearly ten-year legal battle to win back his job. He rejoined the Foreign Service in 1993 and retired in 2018.

Director Mary Kane addresses a seated crowd
United States Diplomacy Center Launches “Diplomacy After Hours” Happy Hour
United States Diplomacy Center Launches “Diplomacy After Hours” Happy Hour 1024 576

The Diplomacy Center has launched “Diplomacy After Hours,” a series of diplomacy-themed happy hours in the pavilion that will feature exciting stories of American diplomacy and highlight the future museum. 

The first program featured Jimmy Story, Chargé d’ Affaires, a.i. at U.S. Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela, who has been a generous donor of artifacts to the Diplomacy Center museum, including a cococho (a tool used to uproot coca plants) and items he collected prior to closing a cocaine lab in Colombia: a coca plant macerator (used to mash coca leaves in the process for making cocaine), a weighing scale, and devices used to make bricks of cocaine and mark the bricks. Mr. Story shared one of his most emotional moments in the service — watching the U.S. flag come down at the Embassy in Venezuela. He relayed the pride he felt when his plane landed in Washington, D.C. from Venezuela and State Department leadership welcomed him and the embassy team. 

The second “Diplomacy After Hours” was a celebration of the nation’s independence as well as the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing and diplomacy’s role in space exploration. In keeping with the celebratory theme, the United States Air Force Band’s Airmen of Note jazz ensemble performed patriotic and space exploration-themed music. Members of the band also have served as arts envoys. Guests had the opportunity to listen to the band’s experiences working on community relations events in Costa Rica and other countries.

The Diplomacy Center thanks Washington, D.C.-based City Winery for their generous donation of wine and staff time for this event.

Edward Dudley Jr. and Diplomacy Center Associate Curator Katie Speckat discuss items in his father’s diplomatic collection.
Archival Collection of the First African American Ambassador Comes to the Diplomacy Center
Archival Collection of the First African American Ambassador Comes to the Diplomacy Center 1024 768

We think we opened the door and stopped this kind of discrimination.

Ambassador Edward R. Dudley

In 1949, Edward R. Dudley became the first African American to hold the rank of ambassador. Ambassador Dudley’s son, Edward Jr., has donated his father’s extensive archival collection from his time serving as the head of the U.S. mission to Liberia from 1948 to 1953 to the Diplomacy Center. The Diplomacy Center is truly honored to receive this generous gift. Increasing the diversity of diplomats represented in the Diplomacy Center’s holdings is a top curatorial priority. 

Before becoming an ambassador, Edward Dudley had a distinguished career as an attorney. Ambassador Dudley was a civil rights lawyer in the 1940s, appointed to the New York Attorney General’s Office and then was recruited by Thurgood Marshall to become a Special Assistant at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Subsequently, he became the Legal Counsel to the Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands, moving there with his young family.

Diplomacy Center Deputy Director Jane Carpenter-Rock reviewing Ambassador Edward Dudley’s collection in New York.

Diplomacy Center Deputy Director Jane Carpenter-Rock reviewing Ambassador Edward Dudley’s collection in New York.

In 1948, President Harry Truman sent Dudley to Liberia as U.S. Envoy and Minister. Upon elevation of the Mission in Liberia to a full U.S. Embassy in 1949, Dudley was promoted to the rank of Ambassador. With that, Ambassador Dudley became the first black Ambassador in U.S. history. This also made him the highest ranking diplomat, often referred to as the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, in Liberia’s capital of Monrovia.  

After departing Liberia in 1953 he continued to practice law and was later elected to the New York Supreme Court in 1965, serving on the high court until 1985.

During an oral history interview with the Association of Diplomatic Studies and Training, Ambassador Dudley recounted what he considered his highest achievement in Liberia. During this time, African American Foreign Service officers were stuck in what was perjoratively called the “negro circuit.” Dudley describes their situation:

In Liberia “…the leading black foreign service officer there had never had the opportunity of serving anywhere else in the world, despite the fact that it was a policy of our State Department to rotate foreign service officers about every two years….”

“…Despite the fact that we had scores of black people — men and women — in both the Foreign Service Officer corps and in the other areas of government such as secretaries, clerks, other people, none had ever gotten outside of a little triumvirate there that we called Monrovia, Ponta Delgada and Madagascar — all black, hardship, disagreeable posts.” 

“This had been going on for year after year after year, after year…. I am reminded of one man by the name of Rupert Lloyd, a graduate of Williams College, who had been serving in the Foreign Service when I got there at Monrovia for almost ten years. Another fellow, William George, who had just moved over to one of the other hardship posts…. There had been one woman they told me who had been there for almost twenty-five years. She’d gone when I got there. Another one for seventeen years. So I decided to check into it and I got the staff to prepare some research on it, and I did some myself. We put together a memorandum which was a statement documenting every black in the Foreign Service over a long period of years: where they were; when they came into the service; how long they had been in; and, the fact that they had never been transferred. And next to that we added a class of white Foreign Service officers that we took from the register who came in at the same time as Rupert Lloyd came in and we showed where they had been. In every instance, they had had four, five, six transfers and had been in three, four and five different posts throughout the world, and very few hardship posts.”

“Well, right away you would know that there was something wrong…and I knew exactly what to do…. I asked for an audience with the Under Secretary of State…. it was his responsibility to correct what was not only an unwholesome situation but, in my judgment, an illegal situation since the Foreign Service Act had indicated that discrimination of this kind was not to be permitted.”

“….[W]ithin six months time, transfers came through and the number one Foreign Service officer was sent to Paris, France: Rupert Lloyd. And this is the first time that a black Foreign Service officer had ever served in Europe. A second Foreign Service officer, Hanson, was sent to Zurich, Switzerland, and a young lady of great talent was sent to Rome, Italy. They even cleared my code clerk — a fellow by the name of Mebane — out and he was sent to London, England, and they moved the people out so fast that the Liberians complained and said, ‘What’s happening?’” 

“In my judgment this was probably one of the more important things that I did the whole time I was there, not so much between the relations of Liberia and the United States, but for black Americans. We think we opened the door and stopped this kind of discrimination.”

The Diplomacy Center is proud to accept Ambassador’s Dudley’s collection and honor his powerful story.

Speakers and Code Girls stand in the Pavilion with director
Celebrating Women’s History Month: Women in STEM: Past, Present, and Future
Celebrating Women’s History Month: Women in STEM: Past, Present, and Future 1024 683

On March 28, the United States Diplomacy Center in collaboration with the Secretary’s Office for Global Women’s Issues and sponsor AnitaB.org hosted a panel discussion on Women in STEM: Past, Present, and Future. U.S. Diplomacy Center Director Mary Kane welcomed the panelists and introduced the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs (ECA) Assistant Secretary (A/S) Marie Royce to provide remarks. A/S Royce spoke passionately about her Bureau’s efforts to create space for women in science and technology. She shared information about an exchange program created between NASA, the State Department, and Fox Studios, after the release of the film Hidden Figures about women scientists who were instrumental in the launch of John Glen and turned around the space race.

Dr. Wanida Lewis, Senior Economic Evaluation Program Analyst from the Office for Global Women’s Issues, moderated the panel consisting of Liza Mundy, author of Code Girls, Dr. Teresa Williams, an American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow and TechWomen mentor, and Sandra Cauffman, the Acting Director of the Earth Science Division at NASA. All the panelists spoke about the obstacles that women endure to achieve success, whether socio-political, personal or economic.

Mundy began the conversation honoring the more than 10,000 women who served as codebreakers during World War II. Mundy chronicled the story of these women. She explained that after Pearl Harbor, only four percent of women achieved a four-year college degree, because many colleges were not open to women. After Pearl Harbor, the Navy desperately needed talent. Normally, the Navy would recruit at MIT or Harvard, but Mundy found a memo typed in 1941 that talked about a new source of recruits, “women’s colleges.” Mundy described two criteria the women were asked during recruitment: Did they enjoy doing crossword puzzles? (Yes) Were they engaged to be married? (No.) These women moved to Washington and learned the meticulous work of code-breaking. She also elucidated that women were sworn to secrecy regarding their efforts in the war. Their efforts shortened the war by more than a year and saved countless lives, but they were bound to a strict code of secrecy and their efforts almost erased from history.

Williams shared her personal struggles to become a scientist. She talked about her family’s financial struggles and how she wasn’t encouraged to pursue math and science, even though she enjoyed the subjects. In community college, when she met her first female chemistry professor, she finally had a vision that she, too, could succeed in science. Her journey included an abusive relationship that set her back and left her with self-esteem issues. But her spirit and people along the way who saw her intelligence and drive continued to support her and she has struggled and come out on the other end. She talked about being a part of the State Department’s Women and Technology exchange program which allows her to be a mentor for women scientists overseas. She understands the loneliness of being a woman in science and she wants to give back, the same way that others gave back to her.

Cauffman’s story was equally compelling. She also felt that she might have not been here today, running one of the largest divisions at NASA, managing the satellites observing the earth. Her story began in Costa Rica. Her mom didn’t finish high school, survived being raped and having the child, and held two-three jobs to keep the kids sheltered, clothed, and fed. At seven, she saw the Apollo launch and Neil Armstrong walk on the moon. She told her mom that day that she wanted to get to the moon one day. Her mom, advised her, “Keep that thought in your head, because you never know what the world will bring you.” Her high school wasn’t a good one, so her mom found her one that was two bus rides away or an hour and a half walk, when they didn’t have money for transportation. At 13, her mom got sick and they lost everything, so they had to keep moving around to find shelter. Cauffman took care of her siblings, worked, and went to school and still graduated with the second highest grades in school. Her mother eventually married an American who sent Cauffman to the United States to study. Cauffman worked at a hardware store, and finally got into an electrical engineering program, and still dreamed of working at NASA. In 1991, she finally got the call. She attributes her success to her mother’s spirit of believing that we all have the power within us to make our dreams a reality.

As women, all the panelists spoke candidly about women’s struggles, past, present and future. They all also recognized the importance of mentorship for other women and girls and spoke about how they contribute to advancing the next generation of women scientific leaders. Following the panel, AnitaB.org sponsored a reception for the event.